Tag Archive: Blog Article

  1. Do You Have What it Takes to Move Beyond 3D?

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    Today, you can’t attend a construction industry conference or read through a magazine without being exposed to BIM, 3D modeling or virtual design construction. Even though these new buzz words are popping up everywhere in the industry trends, how many companies are actually implementing them?

    According to McGraw-Hill Construction Report, “The Business Value of BIM in North America: Multi-Year Trend Analysis and User Ratings (2007–2012),” BIM adoption expanded from 17 percent in 2007 to 71 percent in 2012, demonstrating a significant growth. This survey shows that BIM adoption rates are continuing to increase, companies are implementing it more frequently and “model everything” is where we are heading in the construction industry.

    Some companies are even taking it a step further and progressing beyond 3D. According to the research conducted by J.C. Cannistraro, a contractor based in Watertown, Mass., BIM saves money as the team gets more collaborative. On its 2D projects, the firm saw 18.42 percent in additional change order costs from its base contracts. Change order costs dropped to 11.7 percent when the firm used BIM in-house but did not collaborate. When they exchanged models and data with multiple parties, change order costs dropped significantly to 2.68 percent.

    Visualizing your project with 3D models will provide more accurate information. But when you link your 3D models with key project data such as scheduling, estimating, procurement and more, you will have better communication between different stakeholders in a timely fashion, creating the collaborative BIM environment.

    Would you like to explore the possibility to improve your project outcome by moving beyond 3D?

    Watch our FREE Webinar: 5 Ways to Increase Productivity Through BIM

  2.   3 Ways to Leverage Your Spreadsheets with Construction Software

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    Microsoft Excel is an enormously powerful tool. You can use it to calculate just about anything and it has been an affordable and trustworthy business solution for many years. It’s great software for developing formulas, customizing calculations and moving data between systems. Most of us in the construction industry use Excel heavily. However, one drawback with Excel is that the variety of spreadsheets around the office can be difficult to manage. The inefficiencies of having spreadsheets scattered across departments can lead to budget and project issues.

    In our recent free webinar, “Keep Your Secret Sauce,” we took a poll to see what ways our viewers were using spreadsheets.  The survey said that 66% of the participants currently use spreadsheets for “All of the Above:” bidding/estimating, tracking job progress, take-off calculations and one-off calculations. It seems the construction industry remains quite dependent on Excel!

    Many times here at InEight we will hear the request, “We need to make the changes that can get things standardized and our management systems updated.” Nonetheless, we know that it can be difficult to transition away from trusted processes, even if it is a step in the right direction. Finding a software solution that integrates with spreadsheets, like HD, may be the most efficient way. You can leverage the results in one standard project management tool.

    Do you have any of any of these concerns about leaving Excel behind?

    • You can’t give up the calculations

    You want to standardize your estimating but just can’t give up your time-tested formulas, even though manually entering calculations is time-consuming and prone to errors. Luckily, HD estimating and control solutions can easily integrate with them. For example, HD Estimating lets you store custom calculations in a spreadsheet that can be linked directly to your estimate.

    • You need those quick edits

    We know that the abilities of many standard estimating systems can be limited compared to Excel. HD solutions allow you to still make quick revisions and provide the means to easily import and export between both systems. HD lets you have the best of both worlds by automatically updating your estimate when fields change in Excel.

    • You have a solid system in place for tracking field data

    Perhaps the time collection system you already have is practically flawless. With HD, the good news is that there is no need to learn a new tool. With a bi-directional link to Excel, you can leverage the timesheet collection tools you already have while taking advantage of the  standardized database in HD for things such as forecasting, reporting, benchmarking and schedule integration.

    Would you like to know more about how HD solutions can be integrated with Excel to ease your transition to a more accurate and efficient estimating platform?

    Watch the full webinar

    Learn how InEight can help




  3. 3 Reasons Why Construction Companies Resist Change

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    We are all creatures of habit; we appreciate the familiar and avoid change.  In the construction industry, tight margins and the need to simply get things done can reinforce our innate instincts.

    The issue for construction companies is that it’s often not just one individual that needs to change.  Instead, the entire organization may have to change to achieve goals. The result is that you may have to restructure key processes across roles, something that can be quite frightening.

    While the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”, history has shown that when companies resist change too greatly and for too long, technology and the outside world can advance so quickly that they will start having a difficult time.  They then may be forced to spend large amounts of money simply trying to catch up.

    Reasons construction companies may be slow to change include:

    • Rigid Company Structure

    Some organizations have such a strong culture that new changes can create immediate imbalance. Over time, any company structure can become rigid without some variance. Did you ever hear someone say, “Well, we have always done it that way?” This attitude can create tunnel vision across departments, which might make change more difficult.

    • Costs of Change

    A sunk cost, a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered, is one of the main reasons companies resist change. If financial resources have already been invested in a specific direction, reluctance to change course will be likely.

    • Short-term Focus

    The desire to sustain the status quo is common, but this is not always for the good. If you let them, short-term, immediate benefits will guide efforts, leading to indifference or even outright dismissal when a better long-term solution becomes available.

    Innovation is important for construction companies to remain competitive. In our webinar, “Keep Your Secret Sauce,” we discuss how construction companies can leverage – not replace –  spreadsheets for better estimates. We show you how you can ease into innovation, without losing what already works for you.

    What’s your secret sauce? Would you like to learn more about how InEight can help?

    Watch the full webinar

    Learn how InEight can help


  4. End Communication Gaps between the Office and Construction Site

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    Technology has advanced immensely over the past 20 years.  Can you remember when Apple stock was just $14 a share, or when talking over the internet first became possible?  10 years ago, Cisco launched its first 79 Series internet phone and Facebook finally made itself available to users other than college students. Only five years ago, Apple stock was $350 a share and mobile tablets were moving into the mainstream.

    Today, almost 200 million smartphones are used in the U.S. alone. This means that 2 out of every 3 people have non-stop connections via technology. The irony is, many of us in the construction industry are not leveraging these advancements in consumer electronics in the workplace. For example, we may be completely wireless and use tablets to speak with our children via video calls at home, yet, at work, we still use the old 79 Series Cisco phones. Essentially, we are working like Fred Flintstone in a George Jetson world!

    What does this mean for construction projects? Long, slow and inaccurate paper trails from the jobsite to the office. Crews aren’t doing the most critical tasks. Problems aren’t caught and addressed until long after they happen. Point timesheet systems that lack integration with other project systems can create even more problems than they solve.

    Communication is key in the construction industry. Knowing the plan and consistently and efficiently executing it is imperative to project success. It doesn’t matter how good the plan is, if it’s not communicated effectively, it will not be executed well. For example, gaps in communication between superintendents and foremen often obscure inefficiencies that won’t surface until cost reports are printed a week or more later. Disconnects can occur from the huge amounts of paper needed to communicate, especially around time tracking, quantity tracking and old Excel spreadsheets that are not integrated with mobile technology.

    Does this story sound familiar?

    Are you tired of the paper trail and want to know how InEight can help?

    We recently hosted a webinar about leveraging workplace technology to improve jobsite project execution:

    Watch the full webinar

    Learn how InEight can help

  5. Three Age-Old Project Execution Challenges

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    Here at InEight, we often hear, “What’s going on in the field isn’t matching the plan!” Crews are not doing the most critical tasks and problems are reported to managers long after they actually happen. Slow and inaccurate paper processes get in the way and can lead to project delays, cost overruns, inefficiencies and surprises for the management team.

    In a recent webinar, “Leveraging Construction Technology on the Jobsite”, we discussed three of the age-old project execution challenges:

    • Communication gaps between the office and the field
    • Disorganized daily planning
    • Slow and error-prone capture of work progress and timesheet data

    During the webinar, we polled the construction-industry attendees and learned that their single-most common challenge is around the communication gaps between office and field.

    In a competitive market, it is imperative for construction companies to innovate. Mobile technology is becoming increasingly essential in construction. However, even as consumer electronics advance, construction professionals still struggle to leverage technology to overcome age-old project challenges. For example, we conducted a second poll during the webinar to learn whether viewers were currently using mobile applications in their company. An astounding 55% responded “No.”

    We have since found that our webinar attendees were not alone. According to 2015’s “The 4th Annual Construction Technology Report” by JB Knowledge, of more than two thousand construction industry respondents, 77% claim mobility capabilities are important for their software solutions, up from 59% in 2012. However, less than half of those respondents actually reported using software in their role, even though mobile applications were available.

    Why is there such a gap between today’s innovative consumer technology and the tools found at many jobsites?

    If you would like to know the answer to this question and learn how InEight can help, please watch our free on-demand webinar:  Leveraging Construction Technology on the Jobsite. In this webinar, we use real-world examples to show how modern integrated mobility solutions can help you solve common construction jobsite problems.

    Watch the full webinar

    Learn how InEight can help

  6. Bring Order to Disorganized Bidding Processes [Blog]

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    Back in the days before smartphones and email, contact information was stored in many different places: an address book, a roller desk, post-it notes, old mail… Remember back then? You had to search all over just to find someone’s contact information. And then, keeping everything up-to-date was another problem altogether.

    The challenge of disorganized bidding on construction jobs is similar to the old problem with contacts: When job estimates are created by multiple people using different programs, gathering the data necessary to prepare accurate bids can be slow and time-consuming. Without systematic processes, creating bids can be tedious work. Instead, managers need a trusted way to ensure nothing is missed and all key information is available so they can quickly create the best estimate possible.

    We recommend solving disorganized bidding in four ways:
    1) Deploy a unified estimating platform – A unified estimating platform allows multiple estimators to collaborate on the bidding process. This increases efficiency and consistency. Faster estimating leads to more bids and, ultimately, more work.

    2) Leverage Benchmarking – Capturing and leveraging best practices and benchmarking against similar jobs allows you to confidently create more accurate bids.

    3) Standardize cost account code structure down to a third level of detail – Common account code structure enables consistent reporting.

    4) Utilize common reports and management dashboards – Ensure all stakeholders are (literally) on the same page by creating and deploying standard reports and dashboards.

    Don’t be stuck with disorganized bidding – By addressing this challenge, you can quickly and easily create more accurate bids, which can, ultimately, help your company be more successful.


    Watch the full webinar

    Learn how InEight can help


  7. Build Better Estimates with Benchmarking

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    The 5 Most Common PCM Challenges – Challenge #3:  No Ability to Benchmark Estimates

    Hello and how are you doing today?

    Good? Great!

    How is your company doing today?

    Did you just realize you might not know the answer to this question? You’re not alone. Many others are in the same situation. New potential customers often come to us and say: “We have no way of knowing if we are getting our best estimate!” The good news is that we can help.

    In our recent webinar, “Overcoming the 5 Most Common Project Cost Management Challenges,” we discuss the importance of benchmarking in order to confidently create more accurate estimates. Just as we often ask each other “How are things going?” it is important to consider this question as it relates to your company. Benchmarking is the key to always having the correct answer.

    Without the ability to benchmark estimates, contractors can suffer from slow estimating, inaccurate estimates, lack of confidence, inconsistencies and duplicative efforts.  In addition, you have limited ability to understand how the current estimate compares to other similar jobs that have been completed or bid on.  Ultimately, you can’t be fully-confident about your new estimates.

    To bring benchmarking capabilities to your organization, we recommend four key steps:

    1. Define base unit of measure
    2. Establish common denominator down to a third level of detail
    3. Embrace benchmarking
    4. Develop a learning organization

    The construction industry is a competitive place. Having the confidence of knowing how your company is doing is key to outperforming competitors and ensuring you are creating the most accurate estimates possible.

    Would you like to know how InEight solutions can help your business with benchmarking?


    Watch the full webinar

    Learn how InEight can help


  8. 4 Ways to Speed up your Cost Estimating Processes

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    Winning more profitable work is one of the most important cost estimating goals. To accomplish this, many estimating teams put in lots of overtime simply to keep everything running at current levels, let alone grow the business. Data needs to be captured and analyzed, and mistakes and redundancy are all-too-common with generic software such as Microsoft Excel.

    What stands in the way? Old systems, manual effort and inefficient processes can all lead to bidding fewer jobs, winning less work and, ultimately, lower company profits.

    In our recent webinar, “Overcoming the 5 Most Common Project Cost Management Challenges,” we polled the 100+ attendees to share *their* top challenge.  Slow and inefficient estimating, no ability to benchmark estimates, and limited visibility between office and jobsite were selected as the overall top three challenges.

    To address the first in that list, here are 4 ways to deal with slow estimating:

    #1) Ensure easily reproducible data

    Having the ability to quickly copy, multiply and split data items can significantly reduce effort and organize jobs. In an ideal system, when changes are made, all related items are updated automatically, including equipment, manpower, hours, production or materials.  Speed estimating by reducing manual work!

    #2) Leverage NORMS databases

    Standard cost libraries that have industry-standard details about productivity rates and costs can make it much easier for estimators to quickly create more accurate estimates. Examples include RSMeans and Richardson Construction Estimating Standards.

    #3) Save time with material/quantity takeoff (MTO/QTO)

    Leveraging designs to quickly build more accurate estimates is a crucial step to expediting the overall process. Estimating systems that integrate with RIB MC2 or On-Center On-Screen Takeoff can quickly move design data about labor, material, and assemblies to drive the cost estimate.

    #4) Keep the estimate and schedule synched

    The ability to link estimating and scheduling systems allows data to easily flow between the two, speeding processes and reducing errors. Save time by taking the initial estimate and move it over to a scheduling system to have the time-phase element that is a key part of a bid.

    As the construction industry is so competitive with such low margins, winning more jobs by producing more bids is key to keeping the company going. Any inaccuracies can affect the company in its entirety.  Substantial amounts of time, manpower and money are often required, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
    Would you like to learn more?

    Watch the full webinar
    Learn how InEight can help